One word, Rittergate.
According to (Craig) Johns, the district became in breech of its own policies by hiring Lindsey Jean Ritter, daughter of TVUSD Superintendent Timothy Ritter, during a board meeting held on October 1, 2013.
Johns went on to say that through the investigation the group discovered Lindsey Ritter has convictions including a “plea of guilty, nolo contendere (no contest) and/or a finding of guilty by a judge or a jury.”
“Court records confirm that Lindsey Ritter was charged with penal code 487 1-3,” Johns said. “Pertaining to one of two felonies with which she was charged which is grand theft. On January 17, 2012 Miss Ritter was sentenced without going to trial for … felony reduced to a misdemeanor. Sentencing included the repayment of $18,676 worth of restitution to the San Diego court system and probation. We believe this condition was overlooked because of Mr. Ritter’s influence over this board, and more specifically, Board President Allen Pulsipher.”
One more word, hypocrite.
On Friday, in what can only be described as an act of astonishingly bad judgement, TVUSD’s Assistant Superintendent of Educational Support Services Jodi McClay attempted to defend Rittergate via an emailed statement to the Press Enterprise newspaper.
In McClay’s statement, she mentioned that “drug crimes” would preclude a person from employment at TVUSD. This would seem to disqualify the 22 former TVUSD students who were arrested in the now-discredited and ironically named sting, Operation Glass House. We take McClay’s implication very personally. And very seriously.
- All 22 children did jail time.
- Many of the 22 children spent the holidays behind bars.
- The 21 children who are not our son were expelled.
- Nearly half of the 22 children were special education students.
- Due to their TVUSD-enabled criminal records, there are jobs and opportunities that will never be available to them.
- Timothy Ritter, according to sworn testimony, is the person who authorized Operation Glass House.
As Operation Glass House publicly unraveled, most of the press coverage focused on the entrapment of our son. But our hearts continue to break for all of the children who were cruelly victimized by adults whose fundamental responsibility was to protect these children. Instead, the “grownups in charge” chose to ruin lives, destroy futures, and saddle families with unthinkable devastation. Every taxpayer-funded paycheck these administrators receive is an obscenity.
People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, especially if they wear orange well.
In McClay’s world, “drug crimes” appear to be automatic dis-qualifiers for employment at TVUSD, while “grand theft” is no problem if your last name happens to be Ritter. This curious rationale might be explained by the fact that McClay and Special Education Director Kimberly Velez were responsible for TVUSD being recently sledgehammered with 226 corrective actions after the California Department of Education uncovered numerous infractions, including misappropriation of public funds.
A year-long investigation by the California Department of Education (CDE) into the Temecula Valley Unified School District’s (TVUSD) special education department found a multitude of violations – click here to read the full CDE report (323 pages) – including the following examples of improper use of funds designated for TVUSD’s special education students:
- 40 school district staff members, who were not assigned to teach Special Education students, received a portion of their salaries from special education funds during the 2013-2014 school year.
- A Temecula charter school to which TVUSD was required to provide Special Education funds received only 54.3% of the funds during the 2013-2014 school year.
The CDE findings raise numerous serious questions regarding the use of taxpayers’ money. For starters, if the special education funds supplanted portions of 40 non-special ed employee salaries, where did the supplanted funds go? And if TVUSD only gave the identified charter school 54% of the required taxpayer funds, what happened to the other 46%?
TVUSD’s 2013-2014 SELPA governing document defines responsible parties, and the problems found by the CDE point squarely to failures by Assistant Superintendent of Educational Support Services Jodi McClay, and Director – Special Education (SELPA) Kimberly Velez.